BRAZIL: Education in Indigenous communities focus of meeting
Salesian missionaries attend meeting to discuss advances in education for Indigenous communities
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Brother Tarley Nunes da Mata, head of the Indigenous Documentation Center in Campinápolis, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, recently attended a meeting with educators who work directly with Indigenous children and youth.
The meeting was also attended by Miriam Lagares, state pedagogical consultant; Nelson Gonçalves, professor of Indigenous teachers and head of the state literacy program Alfabetiza MT; Raquel Miranda, bilingual teacher from the municipality of Campinápolis; and Salesian Deacon José Alves de Oliveira.
Meeting participants discussed Indigenous education, including the recent “Syllabus for Indigenous Literacy” that provides a framework for teaching in the Indigenous language and in Portuguese. The syllabus also outlines the importance of other educational aids.
“At the meeting, Bro. Nunes da Mata presented material published in the areas of social sciences, mathematics, culture and linguistics that included grammar, dictionaries in Portuguese-Xavante and Xavante-Portuguese, notebooks, and other various didactic material,” explained Alves de Oliveira. “Furthermore, Bro. Nunes da Mata knew how to listen to the experiences of each teacher and shared the challenges, successes, and wishes that the municipality of Campinápolis and the state of Mato Grosso are facing with teaching Indigenous students.”
Gonçalves presented his work experience in promoting initiatives and teaching materials both for teacher training and for Indigenous literacy in the state of Mato Grosso.
Alves de Oliveira added, “It was a very beautiful moment because we could see that there is a very rich reality full of possibilities for finding methods and solutions to existing challenges.”
Salesian missionaries provide education and social support to Indigenous communities and help to support those living in poverty and at risk of social exclusion. Today, there are about 10,000 Xavante people in the region, spread over more than 200 villages. These communities face extreme poverty and are often cut off from the outside world.
Issues of income inequality and social exclusion remain the root causes for those living in poverty in Brazil. Inequalities also exist in access to education and educational efficiency. These inequalities are greatest for children and youth who are poor, live in rural areas or who have an incomplete compulsory education. Salesians working with poor youth and their families in Brazil develop programs and provide youth with opportunities for furthering their education and skills.
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Salesian Missions – Brazil
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